Opening reception | 22 March | 20:00
Michael Schmid’s photographs deal with the conditions of photography itself. Light, for example, is what makes seeing things possible at all, just as it is what enables one to fixate the image on paper or a Dibond panel. At the same time, light is able to destroy that which it creates, by bleaching or even burning it out. Artificial light often gains the additional characteristic of being a sign, a signal, a warning notice or a more complex message, which relies on an entire grammar of light. Schmid’s photographs have always featured lights and lamps that demand to exist as images: ceiling lamps, street lights, and neon signs. As a sign, light that has been channelled and given form tells a story.
In his small format photograph Karstadt (Hermannplatz) from this year, Michael Schmid shows the viewer a dark landscape with a dense collection of treetops that bring in a bit of nature, the steeple of an old church, and, as the only bright spot, a tiny bit of illuminated writing: “Karstadt”. If it were not for the title, it would have been quite difficult to know where these three elements came together in this manner. But since the title is there, so is the question: how can it be? The photograph, taken from an unknown vantage point, draws together basic landscape themes that could not be experienced in this manner by the naked body or naked eye alone. Although it has a material foundation, the photograph nevertheless seems made up, fantastic, unreal. The black and grey planes that have been brought together do not look like they were photographed; they appear painted.